If you own goats, then you’ll need to learn to give them shots. Goats need a CD/T (and BO-SE in some areas) shot annually and most antibiotics have to be administered via injection (it’s generally not economical to have a Veterinary do it), so it’s a skill goat owners have to learn. There are three main types of injections given – the medication label or the Veterinary should indicate one of the three methods below (if both IM and SQ are given as acceptable methods, it’s generally given to goats SQ):
- Intramuscular (IM): Given deep into the muscle. Generally a needle length of 1” to 1 ½” and gauge of 18 to 20 is used (the larger the gauge, the finer the needle). Drugs administered IM absorb faster that SQ but slower than IV.
- Subcutaneous (SQ or Sub Q): Given under the skin. Needle length of ½” to 1” and a gauge of 18 to 20 is generally used.
- Intravenous (IV): Administer medication into the vein. It’s sometimes difficult to locate the vein, and it’s recommended that a Veterinary or experienced technician perform this type of injection.
It’ a good idea to have a supply of 3 ml and 6 ml (they’re the most commonly used size) disposable syringes and appropriate gauge needles on hand, and a new needle should be used for each injection. To draw the medication into the syringe, wipe the top of the medication bottle with alcohol, insert the needle into the top of the bottle and withdraw the medication. Be sure to tap the syringe while drawing to get any air bubbles out.
Properly restrain the goat, and locate the injection site (see illustration above). For SQ injections, use the “tent” method by pulling up the loose skin in the area of the injection site. Holding the syringe and needle parallel to the body, push the needle through the skin layer and administer the medicine into the cavity created by the tent.
For IM injections, select the injection site, stick the needle into the muscle, withdraw the needle slightly to insure you haven’t hit a vein (if you have blood will be drawn into the syringe and you need to re-try a slightly different location) and push the plunger slowly. After all the medication is administered, withdraw the needle and rub the area firmly but gently.
Important Note: Always have Epinephrine on hand when giving injections in case of anaphylactic shock (immediate severe allergic reaction). Have it with you, you won’t have time to go get it if a goat goes into shock. If a goat suddenly goes into shock or collapses after a shot, immediately administer at 1 cc, SQ, per 100 lbs. You want the 1:1000 strength as shown in the photo left. This is one medication that not good beyond the expiration date on the bottle, and you should always have an unexpired bottle of this around.